Monday, August 14, 2017

Gambel's Quail

Gambel's quail are found mainly in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico, but they extend into southern New Mexico, up and down the Rio Grande in east Texas, and along the Colorado River drainage in California, Nevada, Utah and Colorado. 
A female.
Pictures of this covey show both male and female walking through a wash with some mesquite branches jutting into the photo. 
I like the photo blurred by vegetation as it kind of conveys the world of the quail from their level. 
They are pear-shaped with short legs and roundish wings. They are gray above and buff below (the male almost more of a white on some specimens) with chestnut flanks striped with white. Males have a black throat, face, patch on the chest and head plume (known as a top knot) and have a red cap and a white stripe above the eyes and going down the side of the face. Females have a less prominent plume and do not have the red cap or black coloration. 
This male and female together provide a good contrast for the difference in markings, particularly on the sides. 
This picture provides a contrast for the male and female from the front. The two at left are male and the two to the right are female. 
Two males from the back show the extent of the red cap. 
They are found in the hot deserts, particularly in desert mountain foothills, mesquite springs and mesquite lined drainages, and areas receiving slightly more rainfall than the surrounding area. The quail photographed above were in Cabeza Prieta NWR in southern Arizona in gravel drainages lined by mesquite trees.